Air/draught sealing

Dr Ashish Sharma

Dr Ashish Sharma of the University of Notre Dame (US) has completed a report on whether green roofs, which are covered with plants, and cool roofs, which are surfaced with reflective materials, could reduce Urban Heat Islands (UHI) effects in Chicago.

Dr. Ashish Sharma, doing post-doctural research in Environmental Change Initiative at University of Notre Dame whose research interests include Atmospheric Sciences and land-ocean atmosphere.  He achieved his PhD in Climate Science 2012.

Dr. Sharma spoke of "green" and "cool" roofs - the former having more benefits but of course needing water and a strong roof structure and useful in cities and populated areas probably producing vegetation. Could sustain urban bees and/or provide shade, and can have a pollutant-cleansing effect.

Whereas "cool" roof is basically a reflective roof, for example "Thermoshield" which can be painted on and has both reflective and insulating properties, and can reflect Infra Red.  Today's podcast follows on from last week's Beyond Zero Radio interview with Thermoshield, an Australian cool roof paint product which is headquartered in Dandenong, Victoria.

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

The Conversation: Green and cool roofs provide relief for hot cities, but should be sited carefully

ND Report: Cooling down Chicago: How green and cool roofs could impact urban climate

Tim Forcey: 22 ways to cut your energy bills

How to save money on power bills

This is a headline which should be of interest to everyone!

Beyond Zero's Kay and Michael speaks to Tim Forcey, Energy Advisor, Melbourne Energy Institute, University of Melbourne talks about 22 things you can do to improve your home’s energy performance. And how to reach the ultimate goal of a home heated and powered by 100% renewable electricity. 

My Efficient Electric Home fb group - join us!

Tim has ideas on 22 ways of cutting power bills  and 38% off electricity and gas.  He said there is no economic reason for connection to the gas grid as gas has increased in price 75% over the last  5 years!  To make the production and usage of hot water  go further it is preferable to consider heat pumps and those with smart meters would find it simpler to trace one's usage regularly. It is possible to do this on line for the clever ones (my expression!)

But first on the list is to install LED lights  and thereby  using less power without heating and these are of course now being offered free of  charge. Next it is also a good idea  to ring retailers  to request what discounts are available ot to  threaten to switch if dissatisfied!

But before getting too technical adequate insulation is important  particularly hot water pipes and pressure release valves and a commonsense approach e.g. checking for draughts from old fireplaces and vents and the installatiom of old fashioned drapes and pelmets

Michael raised the question of showerheads which Tim said need not be either giving a satisfying shower or be saving hot water but could be both and if not satisfied could be returned! And that green power is provided by most retailers not only Powershop.

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

The Conversation: 22 ways to cut your energy bills (before spending on solar panels)

Presentation: Tim Forcey: How to cheaply and comfortably heat your home with renewable energy

ZCA 2020 Buildings Plan - relaunching the national insulation scheme


Trent Hawkins, Project Director of the Zero Carbon Australia ZCA 2020 Buildings Plan, talks about relaunching the national insulation scheme.
Then, Jane Toner, Senior Associate at Sustainable Built Environments (SBE), describes how architects and city planners can learn from nature.

And finally Venezuelan ecosocialist, Miguel Angel Nunez tells how Venezuelan farmers are noticing the impact of climate change and what "Ecosocialismo" (Ecosocialism) can do about it.

Chris Jensen, Greensphere Consulting

Chris Jensen is principal consultant at Greensphere and joint winner of the Building Designers Association of Victoria (BDAV) 10 Star Challenge, Multi-Residential projects category. 

Greensphere Consulting collaborated with EME Design to create a 16 home co-housing design incorporating consolidated gardens, featuring a food forest, orchards, and vegetable gardens, a community building with a commercial kitchen and play area, shared rainwater collection and water treatment plant. The design also included an innovative and original greenhouse/winter garden to harvest additional solar gain in winter months for passive heating. The building’s roof form and façade integrates well with the streetscape.  

Chris talks about the building envelope design, passive solar features, thermal mass, PCMs, insulation, triple glazing, greenhouses, solar hot water and PV, thermal comfort and many other design features for new green buildings, as well as gives advice on retro-fitting existing building stock to increase energy efficiency and green star ratings. 

Chris is an Ecological Sustainable Design/Development (ESD) professional and energy modelling software expert. He also lectures at the University of Melbourne on this subject.

Marc Bernstein, Winner BDAV 2012 10-Star Challenge


Marc Bernstein, Director at Melbourne Design Studios (MDS), is lead architect for the winning design in the Building Designers Association of Victoria (BDAV) 2012 10-Star Challenge. MDS won the Single Dwellings category.

Marc's team set out to exceed the requirements of the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) 10 Star requirements. The aim was to create an energy-positive friendly family home, guided by German PassivHaus standards. They used passive solar design principles to create a comfortable building which requires little or no energy to heat or cool. Active systems like Solar Hot Water, GeoThermal and Solar Photovoltaics take the house from energy neutral to energy positive.

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